Could Steven Gerrard Be Rangers’ New Graeme Souness?

The Scottish media are in a bit of a frenzy as they report that Rangers are in talks with Liverpool U18s boss Steven Gerrard.

Just over thirty years ago the Ibrox club made another former legendary Liverpool captain Graeme Souness their gaffer and he revolutionised the club and started off a golden era for the team.

Could Gerrard do the same for the Govan club? 

Well the potential appointment is already creating a huge buzz on social media, with Gers fans excited by the prospect of seeing such a high profile name coming through the Ibrox doors.

Gerrard shares a winning mentality and a continued desire to prove himself with Souness. I believe that if he were to take the Gers job, he’d be determined to succeed and show that he’s capable of managing at a top club.

The thirty-seven year old also understands the size of the Glasgow club:

“I’ll never forget when I’m invited to Ibrox, it’s an iconic stadium. I’ve got a lot of respect for this football club and it’s history and tradition”

You’d imagine that he’d walk into the dressing room and command respect. As a player he was a leader who led by example and who managed to win major trophies. Young players especially would see at as a dream come true to play under such an illustrious footballing name.

Unlike Souness, Gerrard has some managerial experience with his year as a coach with Liverpool’s youth set-up. He’s also articulate and seems to have a good understanding of tactics and what he wants from his teams. His contact book will also be pretty thick and that could help as Rangers again look for new recruits as they continue to try and close the gap on Scottish Premiership champions Celtic.

People will state it would be a huge gamble, bringing in someone with such little experience in the dugout but Souness didn’t have any when he became Rangers manager in 1986. Now the challenge is possibly greater in 2018 but any managerial appointment comes with a risk.

Paul Le Guen had plenty of winning experience as a title winning coach in Ligue 1 with Lyon but he failed miserably. Mark Warburton had proved himself in the English Championship but when push came to shove he couldn’t cope with the demand at Govan. While the latest permanent boss Pedro Caixinha came in with plenty of chat but he ultimately couldn’t cut the mustard in Scotland.

Ultimately you are never assured of anything.

I personally think it would be great for Scottish football to see such a big name like Gerrard in our top flight. The possible narrative with him trying to outdo his former boss Brendan Rodgers could be fascinating. There’s clearly respect between the two but let’s not forget that it was Rodgers who basically ended Gerrrard’s time at Anfield due to a lack of game time in 2015.

Others might say that the former English international doesn’t know the Scottish game but I think he knows more about it than people think. He’s been spotted at Old Firm games, he’s talked about both Glasgow teams in glowing terms in the past and it won’t be a cultural shock for him if he ended up north of the border.

Like any manager, Steven Gerrard would need to get his backroom team right, have a good recruitment policy, have the board’s backing and get the players believing in his ideas.

Would he be a success, like Souness was?

No one truly knows. As I’ve said it’s a tougher job at the moment but it could be an ideal baptism of fire for a young coach determined to show what he’s all about.

Carlo Ancelotti Could Be A Great Stop Gap Manager For Arsenal

Arsene Wenger has finally decided to call it a day as Arsenal manager, with the Frenchman announcing he’ll quit the Gunners when the current campaign finishes in May.

Without doubt Wenger will leave the North London club a legend and his legacy will last forever at the Emirates but the club’s hierarchy now need to build for the future.

Plenty of names have been thrown into the ring when it comes to potential successors; like Brendan Rogers, Patrick Vieira, Eddie Howe, Joachim Low and Luis Enrique.

All are fine names and have good solid CV’s but I personally don’t believe they are right for the Arsenal job at this current moment in time.

To replace Arsene at Arsenal, you need to have experience at working at a pretty big club with plenty of ambition. That could probably rule out the likes of Vieira and Howe, for me. I’d also put Low into that category, yes he’s been to and won the World Cup with Germany but he hasn’t had the same weekly demands that being a Premier League boss gives you.

You also need to look at Arsenal as a footballing side and ask what they need?

They have plenty of attacking options but defensively they have no spine that they can depend upon, especially in the big games.

Luis Enrique and Brendan Rodgers have been very successful with their possession based attacking philosophies. But you have to look at the clubs in which they were able to achieve that success.

Both Barcelona and Celtic had strong squads when they took over them.

At Roma, Luis Enrique wasn’t really successful in deploying his style at the Serie A club. While Arsenal have fine attacking personnel, they aren’t the same as the world class trio that Enrique had at his disposal at Barca. Plus the defence was stronger and they were already used to the same sort of tactics as they’d been playing that way for years before Luis ‘ arrival.

At Celtic, Brendan has been pretty untouchable domestically but he’s been found wanting in the bigger European ties. He suffers the same problems that Arsene has had at the Emirates, in that he can’t seem to improve the backline. Rodgers had the same issues at Liverpool.

For me, If I were on the Arsenal board, I’d be keen to talk to experienced coach Carlo Ancelotti.

The Italian has been out of work since his dismissal from Bayern Munich in September. His CV is pretty impressive as he’s won league titles in Italy, England, France and Germany. He has also won the Champions League three times (twice with AC Milan and once with Real Madrid).

The fifty-eight year old manages to get more discipline from his teams and they are some of the best teams in European football.

In total, he has managed in over 1000 matches during his career and his team’s have conceded just 890 goals. That shows you that he can organise a defence and that’s definitely the area in which Arsenal need to improve.

I’m not saying Carlo will definitely secure the Premier League title for the Gunners but I do think he’d make them harder to beat in the bigger games and have them once again challenging for a Champions League place.

I’d suggest getting him in for two or three years and have him build a meaner defence and bring confidence to the club again. Then after that period, you could look at bringing in an exciting talented manager who will then have the resources available across the squad that can see them challenging for the top honours again.

My approach might be a cautious one and I’m sure the Arsenal support will want someone that will bring more flair and excitement but really when you think about it, Arsene Wenger had that exciting attacking philosophy for the last decade but without defensive organisation it fell apart!

Rangers Are A Rudderless Ship Once Again

Rangers once again sank without a trace against Celtic yesterday in the Scottish Cup semi final stage at Hampden Park.

After a few promising performances against their Glaswegian neighbours, The Gers side once again looked like a team lost and not ready for the occasion. They again resembled a side flung together by Mark Warburton or Pedro Caixinha that couldn’t get a glove on Brendan Rodgers’ men.

The Ibrox club seem to be in free-fall and it doesn’t look like they can stop the decline between now and the end of the season. They have problems that stem from the boardroom and that splinter all the way down into the first team dressing room.

Rangers again seem to lack leadership, ambition and a desire to improve and prove themselves when it matters.

Obviously the interim manager and the players deserve a vast amount of criticism for what happened at Scotland’s national stadium.

Boss Graeme Murty got his tactics woefully wrong from the get-go. The players didn’t seem interested in pressing their opponents or getting in their faces, a tactic that has served them well in the recent past. Those playing in light blue couldn’t find a pass to one another, couldn’t get a tackle in and seemed scared of the opposition. Celtic captain Scott Brown could have smoked a cigar during the entire game and still not missed a step, it was that easy for him and his teammates.

Now I’m not doubting that Celtic are technically superior at the moment, because they definitely are, but Rangers have shown in the past with some passion and commitment you can at least rattle them. They didn’t show any of those positive qualities yesterday and The Hoops steamrollered past them without any fuss.

Some Gers players like Andy Halliday and Russell Martin aren’t good enough to play in such games and have done very little to make me think otherwise. Others still have question marks over their heads too.

The form since the last Old Firm defeat and this one suggests once and for all that Murty isn’t up to the task. I believe he deserves credit for steadying the ship (for a while at least) and getting Gers up to second place but in the bigger games he’s been found wanting.

He hasn’t been helped by the club’s hierarchy.

For chairman Dave King to come out before such an important tie and discuss ‘the best appointment’ for next season was reckless to say the least. He basically dismissed Murty’s chances and gave the impression that the club were already looking beyond this season. That’s the worst possible message to put out there before the biggest game of your season. It essentially puts the players onto holiday mode and undermines Graeme Murty’s task in hand.

Plus let’s look at some of his statement. he says:

“It is a priority that we commence next season with the best appointment we can make and that we move forward rapidly.”

Well Mr King didn’t think it necessary to get involved in the Pedro Caixinha appointment, so why is this more of a priority? He should’ve got his hands dirty from the start.

Move forward rapidly? They haven’t had a full time manager since Pedro left in October. Why has it taken so long and what evidence is there that things are afoot now?

They moved for Aberdeen gaffer Derek McInnes and they were suitably rebuffed, since then they’ve been silent and far from transparent. They wait for the biggest of weeks to come out and say that changes are needed but without telling us a timescale.

Outside investment in the club seems to be non existent too. The Govan side need to find new revenue streams if they want to try and close the gap between themselves and Celtic, both on the park and in the bank books.

Had previous Rangers regimes acted in the same manner then people like King would be calling for their heads. Once again I suggest to King that actions speak louder than statements and to get things sorted.

If he’s not up to the task, then look for a viable successor who can take the club forward and stop that sinking feeling.

Man City Can’t Afford To Finish Season Off With A Whimper

Manchester City are heading for their first Premier League title under the guardianship of boss Pep Guardiola. 

City are just one win a way from clinching that title but things haven’t been great for Pep’s men recently.

Liverpool comprehensively dumped the Citizens out of the Champions League and rivals Manchester United stopped City from winning the league title in the derby, Man City threw away a two goal lead in that game.

Those results have put the league leaders into a bit of a downer. They’ve went from an invincible majestic team that were challenging on four fronts to a side that seems to crack under the pressure of performing in the biggest of games and a team that will end up with two trophies instead of the quadruple.

Now while I don’t doubt that City will still become the next Premier League champions, I don’t think they can afford to take their foot off the gas and casually stroll towards the trophy or their summer holidays.

Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley are next up for Guardiola and his team. That’s not an easy game by any means, Spurs have won their last six league fixtures including victories over fellow Londoners Chelsea and Arsenal.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has great talents at his disposal; such as Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen and they can damage any Premier Legaue side, especially those that are out of form!

In the lead up to the game, Pep Guardiola has stated that he’s found it hard to raise his team’s spirits this week:

“Not easy. We tried to reach the semi-finals, win the Premier League, but they are human beings and disappointed because they gave it everything.”

“But we have to stand up now and we have the most important title in front of us by far.”

Pep’s team need to take note of the second part of that quote. They can’t afford to wallow in self pity. They need to kick on and find their form again.

I look back at Chelsea and how they won the English top flight’s title then ended with a defeat in the FA Cup final against Arsenal. That disappointment seems to have stayed with them and it’s impacted them this term.

Manchester City can’t afford to make the same mistakes. They still have goals to reach in this campaign and they need to get back to winning ways and show fellow Premier League sides that the last few weeks have been nothing more than a blip and that they will be just as strong and dangerous next year!

Champions League Semi-Final Could Be An Audition For Liverpool Target Alisson

Since regaining Liverpool’s number one jersey back in December, many have felt that Loris Karius could solve the Reds goalkeeping conundrum after all.

The German kept a vital cleansheet in the first leg win over Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League last week and he produced a wonderful save to keep out Yannick Bolasie in the Premier League draw with Merseyside rivals Everton last weekend.

Yet in the second leg against City, Karius once again looked nervy and uncomfortable especially when crosses came into his area. He consistently came out to punch the ball and if he’s not going to clear his own box then that becomes an advantage for the opposing team. His distribution, especially in long passes to spring fast counter attacks, isn’t the best either.

Now in fairness to the twenty-four year old, he has kept thirteen cleansheets in his twenty-five appearances this term, and he’s also a terrific shot stopper. He has gained confidence this season and his performances have improved because of that. It will help that the defence has looked stronger since the arrival of Virgil van Dijk in January.

For me, I think Loris has between now and the end of the season to prove himself as being the man to keep hold of the number one spot. Key to that could and probably will be the Champions League semi-final ties that will start later on this month.

If Karius can produce match winning displays or at least show confidence and a consistency that helps his side, then I think he’ll be Jurgen Klopp’s regular starter for next season. If he struggles, or once again fails to command his penalty area and can’t dominate proceedings, then once again questions will be asked and maybe Klopp will bite the bullet and sign a truly top class shot stopper.

One name that’s already been linked with a move to Anfield is Roma keeper Alisson.

Roma, like Liverpool, stunned the footballing world when they knocked the heavily fancied FC Barcelona out of Europe’s elite club competition. impressively Alisson managed to keep out Lionel Messi and Co in the second leg at the Stadio Olimpico.

The goalie is also Brazil’s number one and that means that he’s keeping Manchester City’s Ederson out of the starting line-up. No mean feat when you consider the form Ederson has been in since has arrival in England, the Brazilian has been one of many City success stories during this campaign. Twenty-five year old Alisson looks set to play for his country during the summer’s World Cup. In his last two outings for Seleção, he’s managed to keep a cleansheet in both games. 

For his club. the goalkeeper has kept a total of eighteen cleansheets during this campaign. Some of those have come in big games against the likes of Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk. As well as helping AS Roma to a semi-final spot in the Champions League, Alisson has also helped guide his side to third spot in Serie A.

Unlike Karius, Alisson can start better counter attacks with his accurate long passing style. That would be great for talented pacy outlets like Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino!

The Brazilian is also great in one on one situations, can read the game well and has great concentration levels.

A possible drawback could be that the Giallorossi reportedly won’t entertain any bid unless it’s in excess of €60m. Liverpool did splash out a record fee for Van Dijk in the winter transfer window, so they’ve proven that they’ll spend big on the right player.

The Reds would also probably face a fierce battle with other top clubs throughout Europe for the keeper’s signature.

If anyone has any doubts about the Brazilian international, then they should know that Italian legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said this about Alisson earlier in the year:

“Alisson is a surprise only for those who haven’t seen him before,”  

“What really strikes me is how he deals with dangerous situations so efficiently.

“That gives his team a lot of confidence.”

The upcoming Champions League semi-finals could decide the futures of Alisson and Loris Karius. You could say it’s there audition to prove they are ready to be classed as top goalkeepers!

 

 

Manchester United Would Be Foolish If They Let Anthony Martial Leave

Reports have surfaced that Anthony Martial has turned down a new contract offer at Old Trafford and that he wants to leave Manchester United in the summer.

It’s believed that the young French forward has become disillusioned with life at the Red Devils due to the lack of game time he’s had during this season, especially since the arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in January.

Since Jose Mourinho’s arrival at United, Martial has been push out wide from a central striker’s role and now Sanchez has basically pushed the international forward out to a permanent place on the bench.

The twenty-two year old may have only made twenty-two starts for his club this term but he’s managed to grab eleven goals and produced seven assists for teammates.

I think Martial has shown enough when he has been on the pitch to suggest he has a huge future in the game. That’s why illustrious clubs such as Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Juventus have all been linked with his signature.

 

The attacker is very much in the same mould as a young Thierry Henry. Anthony has the pace and skill to get beyond players, has fine instincts in front of goal and scares opponents when he has the ball at his feet.

Having thrilling pace, a good skill set and an eye for goal is just the tools needed to become a world class hitman.

In the past, United legend Sir Alex Ferguson enthused:

“The boy Anthony Martial, he can be anything,”

 “What I like about the boy is that he doesn’t panic. I don’t think you can teach that.”

Now some have questioned his attitude in the past but the forward managed to convert into an impressive left winger this term and to do that you need to be smart, versatile and have the right attitude. It’s a real shame that just as he looked to nail that position down, Mourinho decided to bring in Alexis and that was a signing that upset the rhythm of the whole team not just Martial.

We all know Jose loves his wide-men to show defensive discipline and Anthony has worked on that side of his game but, as I’ve said recently, United look a much better team when they’ve got a licence to attack teams. Both Martial and fellow young forward Marcus Rashford have a direct threat that isn’t being used enough this term.

Against some sides in the Premier League, Mourinho could deploy two strikers (Romelu Lukaku and another). That could see both Rashford and Martial get more minutes on the park. That would show the two attackers that they have a future playing in the striking positions at Old Trafford.

United have a rich history of getting things done with talented younger players.

Unfortunately Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho has a reputation of lacking patience when it comes to dealing with youngsters, especially promising forwards. Whilst at Chelsea, the Portuguese manager sold both Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah and they’re probably the best creative performers in England’s top flight this season!

Jose also dumped Lukaku when he was at the Bridge.

If Manchester United sell Anthony Martial in the summer, I have no doubts he’ll become superstar elsewhere and another star that people will use to throw in Mourinho’s face.

James Milner Typifies Liverpool Spirit And Deserves Plaudits

After a tough start in the second leg last night, Liverpool managed to secure a place in the Champions League semi final stage after two wins over English Premier League leaders Manchester City.

City threw the kitchen sink at Jurgen Klopp’s men and they did wobble, conceding in the second minute as Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring for the home team.

The Reds managed to get to half-time without letting in any more goals, although the officials mistakenly chopped off a legitimate Leroy Sane strike.

In the second half, Klopp clearly told his side to go out and play better. They needed to get a foothold in the game by winning the ball, keeping it and going on the attack whenever possible. It worked and star man Mo Salah managed to find the net and that was followed up by a Roberto Firmino winner.

Liverpool produced a two-legged masterpiece that was full of character and spirit. I don’t believe many, if any, embodied that more than their veteran James Milner.

With Jordan Henderson suspended for the second leg, Milner captained Liverpool against his former side and on his 650th career appearance no less.

It’s funny when people saw that first goal going in for Man City they thought the worst, yet the captain thought differently:

“In a way the early goal for them woke us up and it says a lot about the boys that we soaked up that pressure in the first half that got the crowd up.”

The thirty-two year old showed all the qualities that Klopp loves in him, during those two vital European nights. The English midfielder works tirelessly for his team, he worked in tandem defensively with Andrew Robertson on the lefthand side. If Sane, Raheem Sterling or David Silva popped up on that flank then Milner was there to give his left back a helping hand.

He won tackles, headers and managed to remain calm when others starting to crumble a wee bit.

In the first leg, his determination paid off when his full bloodied challenge managed to steer the ball to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlian who then smashed the ball home at Anfield. That was Milner’s seventh assist of this Champions League campaign and no other player has bettered that tally in Europe’s elite competition this season. His performances this term have led to calls for him to come out of international retirement and help England as they head to the Fifa World Cup in Russia this summer.

Jurgen Klopp knows that he has a foot soldier in Milner, when he selects him. He’ll do his job without any fuss and will always give the German 100% on the pitch. He also seems to thrive when given added responsibility, whether it be via the captain’s armband or taking penalties. What more can you ask for in a stalwart?

The Yorkshireman also offers versatility and won’t throw a huff if he has to move positions throughout a campaign. In this era, James’ modest and hard working attitude must be a blessing fo his manager.

It’s funny that he has managed to help Liverpool knock-out Man City. I often think he was under appreciated at the Etihad and that they sometimes took him for granted. He’d be on the bench for the bulk of a season and then they’d bring in more and more players to fight for positions. It took some balls for James Milner to walk away from the guaranteed money and status at City but he wanted more game time and to feel more appreciated.

That has happened for him at Anfield and it’s great to see him running all over the pitch showing plenty of desire and work rate.

He’s now being rewarded with a tilt at Champions League glory.

Should Man Utd Forget Willian And Go After Juve’s Paulo Dybala Instead?

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho always likes to bring in players that he has worked with before, as they’ve already gained his trust and know how he works.

At United currently he has Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata at the club that he’s worked with elsewhere, plus he also had Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who he worked with at Inter Milan) at Old Trafford until very recently. Paulo Ferreira and Maniche both played for him at both FC Porto and Chelsea. Michael Essien had stints with the ‘Special One’ with at Stamford Bridge and at Real Madrid.

Then there’s Ricardo Carvalho who has won league titles in Portugal, England and Spain under Jose.

We know Mourinho likes hard working players who will do as they’re told.

Chelsea forward Willian fits the bill, even when it seemed like Jose had lost the Chelsea dressing room in 2015 Willian was the one player that gave his all in every game.

The Brazilian hasn’t been used quite as much this term under Antonio Conte at the Bridge and reports now suggest that United could go in with a bid in the summer. If Chelsea fail to finish in the top four then they could be looking to rebuild their squad, so they might be interested in selling a few players in preseason.

The links make sense, especially if Mourinho is ready to let Mata leave Man Utd in the summer.

But I wonder if United would be better off looking for someone with more potential and that has more of a goal threat.

Willian will be thirty years of age next season, maybe this Red Devils team needs another younger player that has the qualities to change big games.

For me, I think Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala could be an ideal signing for United in the summer.

The Juve man scored a hattrick this weekend and he now has twenty-fives goals in thirty-eight appearances for the Italian champions, so far this season.

Now the Argentine might not offer the same discipline as Willian in the forward areas but when you look at Man United this term then you’ll have noticed that they are superior when they play with creative freedom and don’t sit back. That might go against Jose Mourinho’s instincts but he must’ve seen yesterday as his team fought back to beat rivals Manchester City that they need to attack more as that’s there best way to victories in the bigger games. Plus Paulo can still be feisty and put some challenges in when it’s needed.

Dybala isn’t an out and out striker, he plays more as a number ten behind a big frontman. We know Romelu Lukaku can run into the wings or come deep to win flick-ons, so Dybala could relish the space that the Belgian hitman creates in games.

At twenty-four years of age, Dybala is still improving and has not reached his peak yet. To have him, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Lukaku and Paul Pogba in the same squad would be mouth watering. He’s already worked with and friends with Pogba.

Now I wouldn’t be too worried about his lack of caps for his homeland, he plays in a similar position to Lionel Messi and no one is going to push Messi out of that team at the moment.

Unlike Mata and Jesse Lingard who can play in that hole role at the moment for United; Dybala offers more goals, creativity and pace in that area. His close control of the ball is majestic and he’s a wizard in set-piece situations.

Now while I admire Willian and would understand why Man United boss Jose Mourinho would be interested in his signature, I truly think that going after the more expensive Paulo Dybala would add more excitement for United fans, more goals for the team and show more ambition from the club!

If you need a recommendation then legendary Juventus and Italian maestro Alessandro Del Piero believes that Dybala is a star that keeps getting better:

“Every year he’s moving up a level,”

“He’s a very good guy and an incredible talent. We don’t need to mention his quality. What I saw every year is that he’s growing. Maybe this year is the year for him.”

 

Man United Need To Use The Derby Win As Springboard To Better Things

Manchester United managed to comeback from a two goal deficit to stop derby rivals Manchester City from claiming the Premier League title today.

United claimed, what seemed to be, an unlikely victory after a sensational second-half performance.

Jose Mourinho needs to use that performance and result as momentum to get the team playing like that on a regular basis. If they can do that, then you should see them challenging for the bigger trophies next season.

In truth, Man Utd started off well but were then bullied at a corner and allowed City captain Vincent Kompany time to fire his header beyond David De Gea. United didn’t react well to that and looked disinterested and defensively they were all at sea. That was summed up when City scored a second in the thirtieth minute.

Once again star players such as Paul Pobga and Alexis Sanchez didn’t turn up in the first half. They were struggling to get on the ball, tracking back was non-existent and the United team could hardly keep hold of the ball, never mind getting it up near Ederson’s goal.

In the second half, United showed more desire, character and importantly they started to get attacks in.

Sanchez had an interest to get on the ball and Pogba started to make runs into City’s penalty area.

Liverpool showed the world during the week that if you get in Man City’s faces then they can have a wobble, Man Utd proved that to be the case at the Etihad today. Ander Herrera was great a breaking up play and United need to keep him fit.

Nice direct play from Alexis and a superb knockdown from Herrera gave Paul Pogba a chance inside the area and the Frenchman bundled the ball home. Within two minutes, the central midfielder was once again in the box and this time he connected brilliantly with a header and it was all square.

At this point, Jose’s men were inspired and had a swagger. A Chris Smalling finish from a Sanchez free-kick suddenly had the Red Devils winning the match.

Man United boss Mourinho needs to go against his instincts and let the team play with more attacking freedom. Things clicked, in the second half, for the Old Trafford club and their star men started to look like world class players again.

At times, Jose seems to put the reigns on and asks his team to be too cautious in search of gaining points. That might have been the way of it at previous clubs for the Portuguese manager but at United things go better when they play with a constant attacking threat and with flamboyant flair!

They worked hard defensively too. They also had a bit of luck when City should’ve had a penalty after a rash challenge by Ashley Young on Sergio Aguero but you always need to have luck in football. De Gea once again showed his worth with his top-class save towards the end.

Jose Mourinho needs to see that by allowing his team to attack, they get better results and that his players can dictate things by going forward, even in the biggest of games!

Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson Keeps Getting Better & Better!

Just five years ago, Andrew Robertson was a teenager plying his trade in Scotland’s bottom tier with Queen’s Park.

Last night, the twenty-four year old shone as Liverpool thumped Manchester City 3-0 at Anfield in a Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Every time I write about Robertson I mention that the left-back has met every challenge head on and conquered them. He did it as Queen’s Park, he then did it in the Scottish Premiership with Dundee United, then again in the English Premier League with Hull City and with the Scottish national team too.

He has done it yet again at Liverpool. Now it hasn’t been easy, he’s had to wait for his chance but when he got that chance from Jurgen Klopp he has taken that with both hands. He has has been fantastic as Liverpool head for yet another top four top flight finish.

His breakout performance to show he belonged at such an illustrious club came against Pep Guardiola’s Man City in the league back in January. The Reds inflicted City’s first domestic defeat of the season. Robertson seemed to run all game, putting in crosses and tackles for the full ninety minutes.

It was fantastic to see a Scotsman make such an impact in a big game, especially at a club that has such a rich history with Scots at the heart of their successes.

Yet even knowing Robertson always seems to rise to the challenge, I was still surprised by his heroic performance last night.

Make no mistake, Liverpool were the underdogs and the occasion was huge. Yet the Liverpool players played as one and demolished Man City, like no other team has done this season.

They kept going, kept pressing, kept creating chances and kept making challenges and Andy Robertson was a big part of that.

The full-back kept bursting forward when he got the chance, he was defensively sound and was willing to put in a high number of balls into the forward areas. The Scottish international worked in tandem with James Milner and it was a partnership that drove Kyle Walker back and constantly kept him on the back foot. He wasn’t perfect but he didn’t let any wee mistakes impact on his overall game.

One of the greatest things about the left-back is his attitude. He meets these challenges and rises to them  because he has the appetite to work hard and to improve!

Robertson’s performance was hailed on social media by fans and former players alike:

Jurgen Klopp also deserves high praise for taking a punt and buying Robertson. When you think of the best deals of last summer and two of the biggest steals must be Liverpool signing Mo Salah for £36m and Robertson for just £8m. Both are flourishing big time.

I hope to see Andrew Robertson in the semi-finals of the Champions League and for the Scottish star to produce yet another sensational performance.